Western launches Medieval Studies program by unveiling rare illuminated manuscript

In celebration of its new Medieval Studies program, researchers from Western University will reveal a newly acquired illuminated manuscript – the only complete one of its kind in the Western Libraries collection – today at a special event in Weldon Library.

An illuminated manuscript is a handwritten book that has been decorated with gold or silver, brilliant colours and/or elaborate designs and pictures.

Canon Grandel’s Prayer Book, named for its original owner, will be shown from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Archives and Research Collections Centre Reading Room at Weldon Library.

“As best we can tell, Canon Grandel lived in 15th century Flanders (Belgium) and used this very small leather-bound prayer book for his private devotions and for some more public purposes,” says M.J. Toswell, a medieval expert from Western’s Faculty of Arts & Humanities. “What makes it particularly remarkable is that the manuscript has some directions written in French indicating when a particular set of devotions should be used, as well as the Latin devotions.”

The new Minor in Medieval Studies offers students the chance to work with more than 20 of Western’s top medieval scholars from a variety of disciplines including music, visual arts, literature, philosophy, history and languages.

“Western is home to some very fine medievalists, across its faculties and affiliated colleges, which means that our students will be able to enjoy a very broad range of courses and activities,” explains Toswell. “Many of the structures and ideas at the heart of modern society established themselves during the Middle Ages. Here is a chance for scholars to exchange information and ideas with each other and with undergraduate students at Western.”

For more information about Medieval Studies at Western, please visit:https://www.uwo.ca/arts/medieval